Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Emory Dance Program Presents our Graduating Seniors!

This year, Emory has seven incredible majors and minors graduating from our program!

Read below to find out some of their plans after graduation!

Maggie Vail

Major: Dance & Movement Studies
Minor: Linguistics

"After graduation, I will intern in the administrative office at the Bates Dance Festival for the summer. Afterwards, I'm moving to New York and looking for work in dance, whether it be performance, administration or perhaps teaching!

Alana Schoenhals

Majors: Dance & Movement Studies, Psychology

"I will be pursuing a Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy."

Katie Messina

Majors: Dance & Movement Studies, Linguistics

"After Graduation, I will be working for Honest Tea in Marketing and Events Planning. Additionally, I hope to be dancing around the Atlanta area with a variety of artists and programs such as ImmerseATL."

Isaac Andrade

Major: Anthropology & Human Biology
Minor: Dance & Movement Studies

"I will be attending Boston University School of Public Health to study Epidemiology and Biostatistics. I hope to concentrate on male sexual violence and the health/trauma intersection."

Viviana Coronado

Major: Psychology
Minor: Dance & Movement Studies

"For the first few months post-graduation, I will be in wedding planning mode. I also intend to focus on continuing to grow my online wellness coaching business."

Thursday, April 19, 2018

EDC Spring Concert Choreographer Spotlight: Serena Schmitt

Serena Schmitt is the final choreographer spotlight in our series! She is a junior in Emory College majoring in dance and anthropology. This is Serena's first time choreographing for Emory Dance Company, and her work, Here They Come, premieres next week at the concert.

Read on to find out more!

The process of creating work for Emory Dance Company has been a really positive learning experience for me. My work features seven incredible dancers who have worked with me through this process. I originally jumped into creating my work by using themes of water and erosion. Through improvisation, group work, and time alone in the studio, these ideas created most of the movement phrases seen in my work early on. However, as soon as the movement was generated, I let those themes go and started to craft the final piece as a whole. I strung together the different phrases, weaved my dancers through the space and tried out the final sequence to multiple different sound scores until I found one that I felt suited the work. I have set out to make a piece enjoyable for myself to create and watch, as well as enjoyable for my cast to dance. The most important thing for me was to not take myself or the work too seriously.

Our feedback sessions as a class provided a lot of insight for me as to how others were viewing the dance, in comparison to myself. It was such a learning process to hear what stood out and what didn't to other viewers. I look forward to hearing more feedback from audience members after the performance about what they thought and how they viewed it. 

Thanks Serena!

To purchase tickets for the EDC Spring Concert, click here!

For more information about our spring events, click here!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

EDC Spring Concert Choreographer Spotlight: Alana Schoenhals

Emory dancer, Alana Schoenhals, is our fifth choreographer spotlight! Alana is a senior in Emory College majoring in dance and psychology. This will be her first time choreographing for Emory Dance Company and she is very excited to share some of her thoughts with us!

Read on to find out more!

My initial idea for this work began last fall when I was sitting on a public bus observing interactions between bus riders. I noticed how strangers would often graze against each other and share touch unintentionally, especially when the bus was crowded. It got me thinking about how the intimacy of touch can vary so greatly, depending on your relationship with the person you are touching. 

As I began working with my cast, this idea progressed into emphasis on the individual relationships between the dancers, as well as the emphasis on a cohesive group identity. My dancers' movement with each other is characterized by gentleness and codependence, while maintaining a sense of vibrancy. Initially, I felt the need to force the piece to fit into my original idea, but over time I felt more comfortable with it morphing into something else. I believe that when you start a creative project, it is impossible to know exactly what it will become, and there is so much beauty in that.

Thanks Alana!

To purchase your tickets for the EDC Spring Concert click here!

To find out more about our spring events click here!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

EDC Spring Concert Choreographer Spotlight: Maggie Vail

Our fourth choreographer spotlight is on Maggie Vail! 
Maggie is a senior majoring in dance and linguistics, and she is so excited to share some of her creative thoughts and choreographic processes with our readers. This will be her second time choreographing for the Emory Dance Company. 

Read on to find out more!

My philosophy on making a work is that I want to cater the experience and piece to my cast. During our first rehearsal, I asked each of my five dancers to share with me concepts that they were interested in improving and investigating in their bodies, which ranged from dynamic range, to release, to feeling grounded. I've developed movement to incorporate all of their interests, and I hope that they feel like they are gaining more insight about their accessible bodies while also having a great time in the process! In addition to providing movement to my cast, they also made phrases which are integral to the work. 

My original idea of making a work about euphoria came to me in the middle of the night, sparked by a conversation with peer and close friend, Katie Messina. But after deciding to redirect the piece in another route, I spent time in the studio making movement and reflecting on the previous feedback session. By the end of the hour, I had decided to focus the work on my movement affinities of rebound, initiation, and space. My cast and I have been exploring the movement concepts of rebound, initiation, and release. Rather than trying to tell a story, the work emphasizes landscapes and architectures in space. We are still investigating and deepening our understanding of our bodies and these movement concepts in rehearsals, and I hope that will move my cast to continue to explore even after process is over.

Thanks Maggie!

To purchase your tickets for the show, click here!

Click here to find out more about our upcoming spring events!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

EDC Spring Concert Choreographer Spotlight: Patsy Collins

Emory dancer Patsy Collins is our third choreographer spotlight! Patsy is a junior studying dance and business, and this will be her first time choreographing for EDC. In a collaborative process with her dancers, she will be investigating themes of intimacy. 
Read on to find out more about her process!

Some of the conceptual ideas that I am investigating in this work are very specific to myself and my cast, so to preserve the collective soul of the work, I encourage the audience to investigate it for themselves. In terms of physical ideas, I am investigating the intricacy of partner work and how smaller relationships can fit into a group dynamic. Collaboration is an important part of my work, and I often give image-based prompts to the dancers to create movement. We also often spend the first part of our rehearsals journaling. I strongly believe that the conceptual and emotional well-being that my dancers bring to the process is equally as important as the physical well-being. Journaling is just one way I hope to give my dancers an outlet to connect with the work.

I find the feedback sessions during this process extremely useful. The power of professional support and guidance is so important, and I value it greatly, especially because this is my first professional choreographic venture. In terms of other design elements, my intention is to costume my movers in tones similar to their skin because I want the audience to understand that their humanity is an important element of this work, equivalent to the movement, lighting and sound. Their individual beings and presences are being showcased and I want to ensure that this comes across in all design elements. My movement creation process is originating from both personal experiences, which I am drawing upon, and the movers themselves. During some of our choreographic investigations I do my best not to fear the direction that the work is going, but rather embrace that some parts of the process may be unknown to me at this point in the process. I feel so grateful for this opportunity to work with incredible movers and faculty, in the creation process of a work that I have grown to be immensely proud of.

Thanks Patsy!

To find out more about our spring dance events, click here!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

EDC Spring Concert Choreographer Spotlight: Laura Briggs

Our second EDC choreographer spotlight is on Laura Briggs! Laura is a junior in Emory College studying dance and chemistry. Read on to find out more about the context of this work, as it investigates the boundary between sexuality and absurdity.

In early January I visited the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to see their exhibit on the history of fashion. One item in the exhibit kept drawing my attention - a pair of black stilettos Named after a medieval weapon whose needle-thin blade could penetrate chain-mail armor, the stiletto elongates the leg and forces a posture that accentuates the breast and buttocks. In contemporary culture, the stiletto can be framed as oppressing or empowering. It represents the woman as sexual object and sexual subject.

This museum visit sparked a dance-making process for me that asks, "What are our human mating rituals? How do they compare to the intricate and innate mating rituals of birds? How are human mating rituals fulfilled or subverted in a queer context?" I chose to costume all the dancers in dresses and black high heels regardless of gender to blur the lines between sexual desire and sexual objectification. I hope to encourage the audience to re-examine their preconceptions about sexualized movement and the boundary between sexuality and absurdity.

Thanks Laura!

Click here to find out more about our spring events!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

EDC Spring Concert Choreographer Spotlight: Katie Messina

As we approach our Emory Dance Company Spring Concert, we will showcase each of our choreographers, who will share some insight to their choreographic processes. To begin this series, Emory senior Katie Messina will be sharing some of her thoughts with us. Katie is a double major in dance and linguistics, and this will be her second time choreographing for the Emory Dance Company.

Read on to find out more!

The idea of an earthquake in the body sparked my process this time around. While I started with just a simple idea, choreographing for a second time has allowed me to dive deep into my creative process, knowing my choreographic strengths and weaknesses, and playing around with both. I often have found that dancers feel most at home in movement through a sense of collaboration. This piece has definitely been collaborative, even more than my piece last spring. We utilize imaged based prompts, task based prompts, and partner work to create movement. Additionally, we often generate movement using things from previous rehearsals as a starting point. I am a big believer that not everything needs a deep concept or idea to begin. Yet, as we are diving into the final month of this work, I have noticed some themes come to light. I have decided to keep them to my cast and myself, so you can watch the work and interpret it in your own way.

I have found that peers and mentors are instrumental to the creation of work. Having a fresh set of eyes to point out noticeable moments allows me to see my work in a different light. My mentors really understand my movement style, and work to cultivate who I am and what I am naturally creating, rather than altering my core. A course I took that is also influencing my creative process is lighting design, which I took last spring. It was one of my favorite classes for the dance and movement studies major. Subsequently, I already have a strong sense of the lighting I am planning for the work. It will hopefully add a new layer to the piece. I am currently also playing around with the idea of very avant garde hair styles, but who knows if they will make it into the piece.  

Thank you Katie!

To find out more about our spring dance events click here!